Sun's Call to Gordon Brown 'Unforgivable'

Rebekah Brooks violated basic decency on former PM's son
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 12, 2011 2:38 PM CDT
News of the World Scandal: Sun Editor Rebekah Brooks' Call to Gordon Brown About Son Is 'Unforgivable'
News International Chief Executive Rebekah Brooks is pictured behind her car's tinted windows as she leaves Rupert Murdoch's London home on July 12, 2011.   (Getty Images)

Learning that your child has a disability is hard enough—but try getting a phone call saying his illness will be front-page news. That’s what happened to Gordon Brown when his family was still coming to terms with his son’s cystic fibrosis: Then-Sun editor Rebekah Brooks, now CEO of Rupert Murdoch’s News International, called him to say his “baby’s diagnosis would be splashed across the Sun,” writes Dea Birkett in the Guardian. Birkett, who has grappled with her own child’s disability, labels the phone call “horrendous, invasive,” and “unforgivable.”

When she was “coming to accept” her daughter’s “disability, my family was so tender, fragile and confused that such a call could have crushed us,” Birkett writes. When your doctor delivers such news, “you join another place to regular parenthood, a place rarely talked about and, when it is, only with pity.” Instead of celebrating your baby’s birth, others simply offer condolences. “The greatest challenge in having a child with a disability is confronting the world's assumptions about her and us as a family”—and “Brooks invaded that world of learning and sorrow.” (More News International stories.)

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